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Pro-Russian Protests in Eastern Ukraine; Royal Visit to New Zealand and Australia; CNN Hero Sarah Ramirez Helping Low-Income People Get Fruits and Vegetables; Letters to Future

Aired April 8, 2014 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: Divisions have deepened in some parts of Ukraine, and in today`s show we are starting with the unrest that`s causing it. This is CNN STUDENT NEWS. We`ve told you how Ukraine is the nation divided. Some people there want to be more closely associated with Europe, to Ukraine`s west. Others want closer ties with Russia, to Ukraine`s east. Protests by the pro-Europe side earlier this year led to the removal of Ukraine`s former president. But in several cities, there are no protests by the pro-Russia side. And yesterday, some demonstrators took over Ukrainian government buildings, raised Russian flags and said they wanted a new government. Ukraine`s current leaders blame Russia for this. They say Russia is stirring up these protests so it can annex more areas of Ukraine, like it did in a pro-Russian region of Crimea last month. Russia says Ukraine`s government is acting irresponsibly, that it should listen to its people and quit blaming Russia for its problems.

A royal visit to the Southern Hemisphere. Britain`s Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, more commonly known as William and Kate, arrived in New Zealand yesterday. Along with their baby boy, Prince George, they`ll be spending three weeks in New Zealand and Australia. Because Princes William and George are second and third in line to the British throne, they need to beget special permission from the queen to travel on the same plane. And the excitement about their trip extends from their home in Britain to the nations it once ruled. New Zealand and Australia are now independent countries. But they are part of the commonwealth, linked to Britain by history, modern day cooperation and the symbolic monarchy, of which William, Kate and George are a part.

A new island has popped up in the Pacific, south of Japan, and it`s made friends with an older one to form an even bigger chunk of land. Here`s the new guy busting through the ocean surface last year. It`s a volcano that appeared in November. It was basically a stone throw away from its neighbor. Another volcano that last erupted 40 years ago.

Over the past few months, the new one spewed plenty of steam and ash and grew(ph). It had reached out and touched the older one by late December, and today the combined island is now more than six tenths of a mile across. It`s pretty hot stuff, so you don`t want to move there. But the bigger it gets, the longer it will take to erode in the Pacific. So, as long as it`s growing on the Pacific ring of fire, it`s growing more likely to stay around.

Time to take roll. And today we are calling out the Mount Rushmore state, the Hawk eye state and the tar hill state. In Sioux Falls South Dakota, we`ve got the Wolverines watching. Hello to everyone at William Middle School.

In Lisbon, Iowa, it`s the lions who were stuck in CNN STUDENT NEWS. Great to be online at Lisbon High School. And in Pfufftown, North Carolina check out the radars. Good to see our friends at Reagan High School.

April is autism awareness month in the U.S. The event aims to get people talking about the disorders to help the public better understand them. Autism rates continue to climb in America. It` believed to affect one in 68 children today. It was one in 88 children two years ago.

Experts aren`t sure why rates are increasing, and they don`t know what causes autism. But children who have the disorders are generally affected in three certain areas: the use of language, their behavior or how they interact with other people.

The extent of the disorders varies dramatically. One child with autism may be severely affected. Another symptoms may be more mild. And some children seem to outgrow some symptoms as they get older. So, each person with autism is unique.

By the amount of food we throw away in the U.S. some estimates put that at 40 percent. You wouldn`t think millions of Americans are going hungry. They are. And one reason - food`s wasted, is because many supermarkets won`t take imperfect-looking produce. Because many shoppers won`t buy it.

Sarah Ramirez rescues some of that food, gives it to people in need and earns the title of CNN Hero.


SARAH RAMIREZ, CNN HERO: Pixley is a small community located in the central park of California. We are in this agriculturally rich area, and yet people who live here and work here, are hungry, are impoverished. Some are working in the fields that feed the entire country. And then they don`t have the resources to support them and - it`s heartbreaking.

You can`t just watch that and not wonder if there`s something more that we could do.


RAMIREZ: What we do is we clean mostly from backyards. Today, we are looking at a glean of about 6400 pounds. And that`s incredible.

My husband and I grew up in Pixley. My parents, they worked in the fields. I had family members who died at very young ages due to chronic diseases like diabetes.

(on camera): And those of you that are high school students.

(voice over): Looking at these issues of poverty and obesity, we were trying to figure out how do we provide our resources for our community and our home.

We also have a component in our garden that`s a you pick area. If your household needs some fruits and vegetables.

We really try to teach how to use what we are growing.

(on camera): Peach and cucumber.


RAMIREZ (voice over): I want to grow old, and I want to grow old in the healthy way, and I want that for everybody.

(on camera): Thank you!


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: See if you can I.D. me. I`m a year in the late 20th century, Bill Clinton was the U.S. president and John Paul II was the pope. There`s no World Series due to a strike in Major League Baseball. And Dallas won the Super Bowl. And Arkansas won the NCAA men`s basketball championship.

I`m 1994. Also, the year that "Friends: debut on TV.

AZUZ: Of course, it`s hard to imagine what your life will be like 20 years from now. But the teams you are now following, the shows you`re watching. Maybe even a new story you`ve seen, we`ll all be part of your history in 2034. What would you tell your future self in a letter? A teacher in Canada is making sure his students get a look back at themselves from themselves.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Last week, a trip to the mail box was a trip back in time for Scott Fulton. Back to 1994 when he wrote a letter to his future self.

SCOTT FULTON: November 30, 1994. Dear Scott - myself. Hey, how are you? I`m fine. Do you remember why are you getting this letter?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was an assignment from his grade nine English teacher Bruce Farrow.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This one I wasn`t allowed to read. Confidential.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He started it back in 1961. The assignment - write a ten page letter to your future self.

BRUCE FARRER, RETIRED TEACHER: The motivation to write it - look at where you are going and decide OK, what is it I want to do with myself? And so, they would write about where they wanted to end up. Then, 20 years later, Farrer tracks down his former students. Over the years, he`s mailed out more than 1000 letters. Fulton is humbled by Mr. Farrer`s dedication and the expectations of his 14-year old self.

FULTON: So, anyway, are you married? To whom? I`ve always wondered if would get married to someone that I already know or someone I`ll meet later on in life. Not married.

So, I`m assuming you have some children right now? No.

FULTON: Did you find anything really surprising in your life, that you .

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On this day, teacher and student reunite. And even though Fulton didn`t imagine it, he is now a teacher, too. And he just gave this same assignment to his students.

FULTON: Yeah, I have no regrets on my life so far for my vantage point, and if I was to, you know, talk to my 14-year old self, I think - I think we`d high five one another.

FARRER: Gwen - Oh, I remember, her.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As for Mr. Farrer, he`s been retired for 12 years, but he`s still fulfilling his promise. And that`s not an easy assignment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 20-26. That`s when he`ll mail his last letter.


AZUZ: It`s a fight, a brawl, a mob scene, where no one gets hurt. And while some people get into it more than others, everyone gets pelted with pillows. It`s International Pillow Fight Day. When you take the place, you lay your head to smack the head of someone else. Why? Well, why not. It`s a harmless way to express frustration from a sleepless night, and if Kong Fu pillow fighting gets you tired, you`ll have a soft place to land in hand. With that many people, there is no way you`ll get pillow only. These events stuffed with participants. It`s simply cut ton of them. Everyone`s down went down. Everyone`s on the case, even if they all get batten. Birds of a feather fight together. All right, that`s enough fluff. We`ll bring you more hard and maybe some news on Wednesday.